SILS Alumna, Marla Sullivan, Named Production Associate for MOOCs

Release date: 

April 21, 2014

Marla SullivanMarla Sullivan (BSIS ‘12), an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS) has recently earned a new position as production associate at the UNC William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

“In this position, I will be working to produce MOOCs and other online education initiatives,” said Sullivan. MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are courses available to the general public that may be taken from anywhere around the world. In 2013, UNC began a partnership with Coursera, an online education company which partners with top universities to offer free non-credit courses for anyone to take. In the first year of the partnership, UNC offered five MOOCs, and the Friday Center has been vital in their development.

Sullivan will be responsible for building Coursera sites, creating and managing course assets and supporting the instructors and staff. She is also involved with a project management, instructional design, system administration and technical support tasks associated with UNC's MOOCs.

“As the University’s primary outreach and continuing education unit, the Friday Center will serve an ongoing role in the development of these non-credit Coursera offerings as well as continued expansion of Carolina’s credit-based online learning opportunities.”

Before joining the Friday Center staff, Sullivan worked for two years at UNC Information Technology Services (ITS) Teaching and Learning Interactive (TLI) on Sakai training, documentation and support. When the MOOC initiative started, production was based at TLI. That's where she was exposed to the project and worked on UNC's first MOOCs, including Metadata, Environmental Law and Big Idea.

“My SILS education has been a great asset thus far,” said Sullivan. “In particular, I draw on much of what I learned about Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience Design and Systems Analysis in my daily tasks. Participating in undergraduate research provided a great foundation for understanding course data, statistics and the value of including current research ideas in courses.”